What to do in Cadaqués

By Cristian G. Guasch •  Updated: 08/15/22 •  6 min read

Cadaqués is considered the most beautiful town in Catalonia. Located in the Spanish province of Girona, this town of less than 3,000 inhabitants experienced a tourist boom in the 1970s.

However, Cadaqués seems to have resisted the onslaught of mass tourism and maintains its image of a platonic port on the Mediterranean, framed by the silent mountains of Cap de Creus, where it is said that the sun of Girona rises.

The artist Salvador Dalí lived here for most of his life, with his wife Gala, and his spirit is present at all times: in the streets, in the whitewashed houses and in the whispering coves of turquoise water.

Among the attractions to see in Cadaqués are: the promenade, the Church of Santa Maria, Dali’s House Museum and the wall, which could barely contain the onslaught of the fearsome pirate Barbarossa.

Seafront promenade

The promenade of Cadaqués is one of the most beautiful of the Costa Brava. The best time to discover it is in the morning, as the sunlight gives a palette of colors that embraces the winding promenade and coves of crystal clear water. Many choose to have breakfast at the Chiringuito Maritím, in front of the beach, whose origin dates back to 1935, which sums up very well the calm cadence of the port.

On the promenade is located one of the jewels to see in Cadaqués: the Casa Blava, a beautiful modernist house of 600 square meters built in 1913 by the architect Salvador Sellés I Baró. Next to the sea there is also a statue of Salvador Dalí and, at the end of the promenade, a sculpture in the shape of a frame, which is a perfect frame of the sea, the boats, the houses of the port and the mountains in the background.

Streets of Cadaqués

The walk from the promenade to the old town is very short, as Cadaqués is a relatively small town. Steep, narrow stone streets, flower-filled squares and houses with white facades and colorful doors make up the physiognomy of this typical Mediterranean village with a seafaring soul.

The old town, which dates back to the Middle Ages, has a large number of stores and art galleries. But its main attraction is the Church of Santa Maria, which stands alone at the top of the village and offers fantastic views of the bay, the islet of Es Cucurucuc and the lighthouse of Cala Nans.

A fact to take into account is that every year these streets receive the Cadaqués International Music Festival, one of the most important events in the region.

Church of Santa Maria

A temple to see in Cadaqués is the Church of Santa Maria which was built in the 16th century in late Gothic style. This temple replaced an earlier one that was destroyed after an attack by the Turkish pirate Barbarossa, who ravaged Cap de Creus until the mid-sixteenth century; in fact, Cadaqués had a wall built in 1543, of which there are still traces, to protect against pirate attacks.

The church is not particularly striking from the outside, as its facade is completely white, with a large bell tower. It is recommended to visit its interior to take a look at the beautiful 23-meter high baroque style altarpiece, dedicated to the Virgin of Hope. Its organ dates from 1689 and is the oldest in Catalonia.

Dalí’s House Museum

Salvador Dalí lived and worked in a fisherman’s house in Portlligat (municipality of Cadaqués) between 1930 and 1982, the year his wife Gala died. In truth it was not one but three huts, now converted into a museum that tells the story of the brilliant Spanish artist. This place is simply magical and transmits a great sense of peace. Dalí said many times that the sun rose in his bed before anywhere else in Spain.

Upon entering the complex you can see a gigantic stuffed polar bear, completely surreal. On the second floor is the workshop where Dalí worked, although the artist’s works are scattered throughout the house; one of them is the Christ of the Rubbish, in the large garden, made with remains and debris rescued from a big storm.

Púbol Castle

During the 1970s Dalí left the house in Portlligat and moved to Púbol Castle, also known as Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol. It is an 11th century Gothic-Renaissance fortress. Dalí had promised his wife Gala that he would buy her a castle and he did not hesitate to do so. The building was in pretty bad shape and the painter personally took charge of the renovations, until it became a work of art in itself.

When Gala died, her remains were buried in a subway mausoleum also designed by her husband. Those who visit the castle will find drawings and paintings that Dalí gave to his beloved Gala, as well as sculptures in the large garden, furniture and many objects of his authorship. On the other hand, in the municipality of Cadaqués -on the Cerro de las Tres Cruces- you will also find the Castle of San Jaime, a fortification built during the 17th century.

Beaches of Cadaqués

Diving into the sea of Cadaqués is no easy task. There are so many coves surrounding the town that it is difficult to choose the most beautiful one. Many of the tourists recommend the Cala Sa Conca, with a portion of sand and the most transparent water you could ask for. Also, other spectacular beaches to see in Cadaqués are Ses Oliveres, Portdugué, Es Bianc, Es Sortell and del Ross.

The four wildest coves of Cadaqués are: Cala Culip, Cala Guillola, Sa Sabolla, Cala Jugadora and Cala Bona. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the charm of the Playa Grande, at the entrance of the village; here you can find nice terraces where you can taste the local gastronomy, namely: seafood, seafood stews, various fish (sea bass and sole) and the famous anchovies of L’Escala.

Cala Nans Lighthouse

The Cala Nans lighthouse overlooks the sea since it was inaugurated in 1864 and is one of the oldest in Catalonia. To reach this point you must walk 7 kilometers from the center of Cadaqués. This distance is worth it, because the views of the Natural Park of Cabo de Creus are sensational. Not far from here is the Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Rodas, which was built between 878 and 1022.

Cristian G. Guasch

I have traveled the world visiting 18 countries, including Japan, most of Europe and North America. I love to learn about the culture and history, taste the different dishes and enjoy the beauty of this planet. I also work completely remotely, and this helps me discover new places all year around.